Artists presented in this focus deal with different issues symptomatic of today’s society. Coming from different countries and backgrounds, some of them choose to focus on global matters, while others concentrate on what is going on in their homelands.

Mona Hatoum

Mona Hatoum
Projection (velvet), 2013
White Cube

Projection (velvet) (2013) relates to a body of work that Hatoum has produced – including various sculptures and works on paper – which depict a world map, using the less familiar Gall-Peters projection. This view of the world appears more unusual since it presents land masses according to their relative proportions, rather than from the distorting and more commonly used Northern-hemisphere perspective. Created from lustrous silk velvet, the land masses here seem worn away, laser burnt out of the material surface to suggest a scorched geography of depleted terrains or eroded landscapes rather than solid territory.

Hatoum’s work often explores the themes of precarious national borders and unstable global states, in particular through the form of maps or through a process of mapping. Similarly to other works, in Projection (velvet) Hatoum employs a kind of sculptural inversion – whereby landmasses are rendered as negative space – to highlight a notion of unfamiliarity and instability.

Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck

Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck
Carving coal, since 4000 BC (I). From the series In advance of the broken model, 2018
Green Art Gallery

The ransom notes in this series are specifically made from collected street posters, glued on discarded wood panels that have been restored using, ancient, low carbon practices and materials. Furthermore, most of the objects and installations from “In Advance of the Broken Model” series take the form of absurd models and prototypes, tackling issues like extractionism, developmentalism, indiscriminate consumption and sustainability. The aesthetics and found materials reference the modernist and contemporary world, and intend to suggest the absurdity of solving our ecological crisis with the same or even worse industrial models than the ones causing the crisis in the first place.
Sable Elyse Smith

Sable Elyse Smith
8423 Days, 2020
JTT

Using video, sculpture, photography, and text, New York-based artist Sable Elyse Smith (b. 1986, Los Angeles, California) points to the carceral, the personal, the political and the quotidian to speak about a violence that is largely unseen, and potentially imperceptible. In this series of photographs an expanse of tactile suede surrounds altered photos taken in prison visitation rooms where the incarcerated document their reunions with loved ones in front of a painted mural backdrop often featuring beaches or other vacation or escape-themed landscapes. Smith obscures the recognizable aspects of the figures with collaged elements of actual photographs of sky, mountains and rainbows. As Art in American contributor Diana Hamilton has written: “Though these images function as a sort of souvenir—creating a fictionalized memory of freedom—they are also produced and paid for by forced labor: the murals are often painted by inmates themselves, who pay for the photos with money they earn by working (visitors are not permitted to pay).”
Amadou Sanogo

Amadou Sanogo
Le fossé, 2020
Magnin-A

“The past is vague and the future is uncertain, only the present is concrete, so human must live in their time with every requirements, instead of taking refuge in a past that belongs to our fathers or projecting himself into the uncertain future. “

For the Malian artist, art is a high medium of expression, that should encourage us to question the human faculty of adaptation to the contemporary environment.

« This is a painting I made in August 2020, a few weeks after the coup in Mali. I realized that the people in charge of the management of the country do not touch the ground, do not understand the atmosphere. And those who trusted them, do not believe them anymore.” Amadou Sanogo

Claire Fontaine

Claire Fontaine
We are with you in the night , 2008
Air de Paris

We are with you in the night, is originally a message “Siamo con voi nella notte” that appeared on the walls of Italian cities in the 1970s. The ambiguity of this sentence surpasses its primary meaning that of political support addressed to prisoners. The night represents the prison, but also the zones of obscurity and the clandestine associations emerging from the multiple forms of resistance. The night then becomes a blurry space where the landmarks separating the singularities disappear.
Thu Van Tran

Thu Van Tran
Rainbow Herbicides, 2020
Meessen De Clercq

Made patiently with graphite,Rainbow Herbicides seems to be composed of details of clouds, avalanches or pyroclastic flows. The meticulous pencil drawing is stained with several splashes of colour coming from aerosols, which refer to the names of defoliants used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War (agent pink, agent purple, agent orange, ….). Thu Van Tran evokes the indelible scars that will mark the country and its people forever. The slow movement of the drawing is compared here with the speed of the spray of colour, which intensifies the dramatic appearance.

Working across a range of forms and materials, Thu van Tran (°1979, Ho Chi Minh City) uses her own experience as a cultural outsider – a Vietnamesewoman living in France – to explore physical and cultural displacement and history of colonialism, subjects that have become poignantly relevant in today’s climate.

Barbara Kapusta

Barbara Kapusta
The loose ends of our dripping culture, 2020
GIANNI MANHATTAN

Kapusta’s droplet-shaped acrylic glass works ooze and spill. They are poetic fragments which function as slogans, intimate calls and invitations to the audience. They speak directly to whoever is reading. They address.

The text on these acrylic glass works refer and reiterate parts of the soundtrack of her latest video The Leaking Bodies.

Kapusta’s large scale installation The Leaking Bodies Series traces the connection between capital, migration, toxicity, activism, health and identity through the routes of fluids, linking acts such as the privatisation of drinking water and the forestation of crude oil streams. The installation weaves stories about leaking pipelines, contamination of water and terrain, ecological protest, identity and the permeability of our bodies and borders.

Martin Le Chevallier

Martin Le Chevallier
Obsolete Heroes : Samuel J. Crumbine, inventeur du gobelet jetable, 2020
Jousse entreprise – Art contemporain

Since the end of the 1990s, Martin Le Chevallier (1968, France) has been developing a substantial body of work with a contextual approaches that lend themselves better to political work: actions, processes, performances, site-specific installations, etc. The constant in all these works, regardless of the medium, is the critical eye he brings to bear on the contemporary world and the way in which he interferes with it. Voluntarily ironic, his creations borrow to our time the tools and processes that characterises it. Thus, after having evoked the dreams of social control by a video surveillance game, the consumerist pathologies by a telephonic vocal server, or the securitarian utopia by a trailer of what is awaiting us, he employs himself to found these representations on an interference with reality.

“Obsolete Heroes” is a series of portraits of engineers, managers or theorists who have contributed to the development of one of the pillars of the capitalist system: planned obsolescence. These portraits of “heroes” are themselves subject to this principle of obsolescence. They are condemned sooner or later. One day or another, these images will suddenly disappear, catching fire. But we don’t know when …

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